The Flyers will no longer use Kate Smith's rendition of 'God Bless America' due to "offensive lyrics", according to the Newark Star-Ledger's Chris Ryan.
Philadelphia is following the lead of the Yankees, who severed ties with Smith on Thursday. The 1940's radio and television star produced multiple racist songs before and during World War II, including "Pickaninny Heaven" and "That's Why Darkies Were Born", according to the New York Daily News. The latter song contains the lyrics, "Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
“We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization," the Flyers wrote in a statement to the Star-Ledger. "As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of 'God Bless America’ from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.”
Smith's rendition has reportedly been a fixture at Flyers' games since 1969. Philadelphia has not announced if it will use a replacement version of 'God Bless America.'